Is It OK to Buy a Car With a Salvage Title?

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Looking for a new car can be a challenge depending on what you want, especially if you are trying to save money. This is why some people consider getting a car with a salvage title. These titles are provided to vehicles that are damaged to the point where repairs are more expensive than the car’s value.

However, this process comes with risks that are not common when purchasing a vehicle that’s fresh off the lot. This guide aims to let you know whether or not it’s a sound decision to buy a car with a salvage title.

Common reasons for salvage titles

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When it comes to cars with salvage titles, it’s important to know what was damaged, the extent of the damage, and who made the repairs so that you don’t get ripped off. Mother nature is often the reason behind salvaged vehicles, with examples including flooding, hail, and fires (all of which cause different levels of damage and require different levels of repairs).

Another reason why your prospective vehicle may have this title is because it was stolen and recovered after the owner was compensated for the loss. The title may also be labeled “salvage” if the insurance company takes the car and sells it to someone who wants to rebuild it.

Finding the source of the damage and how it was repaired can be easy if you attend events such as a salvage car auction. These auctions provide advice on how to handle the vehicles they’re selling, as well as the extent of the damage that the cars received. You’ll also be able to figure out how many repairs were made and if they were to the same area. The more repairs made, the more likely it is that the car’s not for you.

Warning signs

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There are several factors to be wary of when considering buying a car with a salvage title, many of which are not normally associated with regular vehicle purchases. You need to ask for all of the documents related to the vehicle’s history so that you know the extent of the problems, to what extent they were fixed, and who fixed them.

Car sellers are often able to get away with providing half-functioning vehicles by repairing them on the cheap. Sellers may also not put the appropriate title on the car, so that customers get a deal they only think is fair. One process that makes this easier is “title washing,” in which they move the car to a different state with easier titling rules.

The list of purchasing details that can help you make the right choice include insurance, warranty, resale, claims, registration and warranty. You should expect a vehicle with a salvage title to not have a warranty. The insurance depends on the state you make the purchase in, but most states at least grant you liability insurance. Looking up the Kelley Blue Book (KBB) value of the car you’re looking at can help you figure out the right price so that you don’t get ripped off.

Reasons to get cars with salvage titles

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Your choice of salvage titled car will also depend on your reason for making such a specific purchase. One of the most common reasons for getting this type of vehicle is to get extra parts for an older car you have. Salvage titled cars are common places to look for parts, so make sure that you have room for the extra vehicle if you want to use both cars for a realistic amount of time going forward. You should make sure that the parts which need replacing match up at the start of your search.

Saving money is another common reason for buying salvage titled vehicles. Cars with this title often don’t get coverage, which means that you’ll have to pay for any future repairs yourself. However, this won’t be as much as a problem if it got the title for being stolen or having parts stolen instead of an accident. There’s always the chance that the original parts were recovered from the theft, which could mean that less money was spent on reinstalling them. Since the car has an accident-free history in this case, the repair you may pay in case of a crash down the line won’t be too heavy.